Tuesday, March 10, 2015

In Loving memory of Ato Taffara Deguefe, 1926-2015, governor of the National Bank of Ethiopia during the 70's

Ato Taffara Deguefe, governor of the National Bank of Ethiopia during the 70's, died Friday on the 6th day of March 2015 at age 89 in Vancouver, Canada. He is remembered as the one who revolutionized the Ethiopian banking system. He is one of the founders of the Ethiopian Students Association in the U.S. and was the first to become its president in the 50's.
In his autobiography, Minutes of an Ethiopian Century, he throws light on the derogatory propaganda that Emperor Haile Selassie had a secret treasure in the Swiss Bank. He described the Emperor as a benevolent person who became the victim of his own success.
Recently, I had the opportunity to be introduced to Ato Taffara, through a mutual friend Zion Faya. Zion Faya, an Iranian-Canadian, had interviewed Ato Taffara about the Emperor's character.
For my part, l interviewed Ato Taffara about the history of the old Ethiopian currency notes and how Ethiopia shifted from using silver coins that carried the image of the Austrian Queen, Maria Theresa, to the image of Haile Selassie on paper bills. He emphasized the image of Haile Selassie gave legitimacy and led to the acceptance of paper over silver by the people.    
Despite his illness, Ato Taffara managed to discuss four chapters from his twelve chapter book.
The last interview Zion Faya conducted with Ato Taffara is available on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GkuIZgEHvs

May Ato Taffara’s soul rest in peace
By Mulugeta Haile

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